I Don't Want Referrals

 
I Don't Want Referrals

One of the problems with your networking group is that as a system for gaining new work and developing your business, it actually works!

By consistent activity, regular recon meetings, effective weekly education of your fellow members and doing a good, dependable job, members develop a great reputation and are referred to regularly. All the activity makes it easy because their fellow members know, understand, and trust their skills and have no problem finding referrals and helping them to succeed.

Over the years I have seen networking lead to great success, allowing many companies to bloom and grow. Most handle the growth well, but some people get overwhelmed by the success and start to do things that actually harms their membership. I have even seen others leave because they have become more successful and do not think they need the group anymore.

I remember one builder who stood up for a period of about five weeks and told the meeting he was so busy now, he did not need any referrals. His company had work stretching six months ahead and they were very happy with the situation, but couldn’t cope with any more work.

I know that all the members of the Chapter were very pleased with his success, however, because they heard him say he didn’t want any referrals that is exactly what he got.

The problem was by telling the Chapter not to look, they didn’t, and not just for the five-week period but for months. I remember having a recon with him about eight weeks later, and he complained saying he was considering leaving because he had not had a referral for months. He was also very busy so he was passing lots of referrals to other people to help him with his workload but was getting nothing in return.

Be careful of what you ask for...

When people listen to your one minute presentation they are in fact like computers waiting for programming. If you tell them to look for companies with red doors on their offices, that is what they will focus on and find. Likewise, if you tell them not to find you referrals, they will take your instructions and do exactly that.

A lot of the action of referral seeking is done subconsciously. We listen to people talk and hear their complaints, wants, and needs, and our subconscious mind processes them, and works out if we know a solution. If your mind has been given a message not to find referrals for a person, it is happy to comply. Even if someone we are speaking to gives us the signal or message that they want, or need, what the member does, our brain has no problem hearing it, processing it, and ignoring it, to carry on with a conversation about the weather. Neither will you feel any guilt about not referring your fellow member, after all, they themselves said they didn’t need any more work.

If you find yourself in a place where you are busy on your day to day workload, you should be pleased, but don’t get complacent. Rather than tell the group you don’t want referrals you should refocus your promotional efforts and ask members for your Cream referrals.

By doing this you will retain peoples interest in finding you referrals, but you will give them a new focus looking for slightly bigger, slightly more prestigious projects. Also, do not abandon the basics of what you do, every three weeks you need to remind the membership of the foundations on which your business is built, the bread and butter work that you need on a daily basis whilst you work on the bigger ideas.

Delivering the wrong message for the right reasons can have a devastating effect on the opportunities that the group gives you. As with all your marketing effort, you need to think actively about what you tell the Chapter, because as you well know, if you ask for something, it will probably happen.